At least every college and university around the country has developed some sort of major fundraising event for its athletic departments and school as a whole. The Wayne Carse Athletic Benefit for Simpson College, however, does more than just that.
On Thursday, Sept. 27, the twelfth annual outing at Norwalk’s Echo Valley Country Club will be in full swing, where an 18-hole game of golf, silent and live auctions as well as a formal dinner are all on the menu.
Director of Athletics John Sirianni has seen the event grow first-hand over the twelve-year life span of the inaugural benefit. He has witnessed it start out very small to something very big and important to the athletic department.
“I don’t think we had even 75 golfers and we maybe had 70 people at the banquet,” Sirianni said. “Since that time, it has grown to where last year we had 210 people attend the banquet and 148 golfers. It is our major athletic fundraiser, but more importantly, it brings together the Simpson community, not just with athletics.”
He also believes that the entire event has a real positive impact on the school and its community relations. The event raises a significant amount of money as finances are concerned with the athletic department.
Bob Nutgrass, compliance coordinator and assistant athletic director, feels the same about the benefit as Sirianni does.
“The budget that we get from the college goes only so far, and every team does fundraising so you can add to your account or your team budget,” Nutgrass said.
“This event pays for a lot of different things, like purchasing equipment and operating budgets, which include meals, hotels and transportation. This golf tournament goes a long way for support of all Simpson teams and it benefits everybody,” Nutgrass said.
Wayne Carse, Simpson class of 1950, played basketball for the Storm during his years on campus. He is a major donor to Simpson athletics, has Carse Hall in the Cowles Fieldhouse named after him, and in fact, when the event even started, the benefit was not named after him.
“We named this after Wayne about seven or eight years ago and he is a huge supporter of the college, “Sirianni said. “He’s provided us with major financial support, so we thought it was appropriate to name this event after him.”
The 83-year old Carse has not been in attendance due to health reasons for the past two years. He had become a very successful businessman, as he is president of his own oil company, Carse Oil Company, Inc., located in his residence of Orlando, Fla.
Not only is the Wayne Carse Athletic Benefit taking place, but the Simpson Rally To Stop Hunger is also in conjunction with the event.
Director of Campus Services John Harris came to the athletic department and suggested that it would be a good opportunity for Sodexo, Simpson College and Simpson athletics to show support for families in need within the community.
“We’re trying to make it a situation where it’s not only good for Simpson and Simpson athletics, but that it’s also good for the community,” Sirianni said.
Elizabeth Curry, assistant women’s basketball coach, is heading the program, where athletes are able to turn in canned-goods, pre-servable foods and some household items and be in the drawing for $100.
Judy Hutton, Administrative Assistant at Simpson, is also heading the program as well the Carse Benefit. There will be a donation table set up at the event on Thursday.
“In partnership with Sodexo, we are challenging each other to collect canned goods or household items like laundry products, paper towels and soap. All the donations are given to the Indianola Helping Hand,” Hutton said.
Many individuals have put in a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication in making these events possible, Simpson coaches and administration alike.
“It’s just a really cool experience,” Nutgrass said.